The title of the google map’s directions to our B&B in Hakuba was “unknown road to Hakuba House” — so very appropriate for January. Now that Chris is on his last vacation day…ever…and our visitors have left, what do we have to look forward to this year? I know it will be another year of long deployments and separations, another year in the Far East far from family. That means another year of travel and adventure, too—new ports of call in unknown cities dotting the South Pacific, East China Sea or the Sea of Japan. I looked at the goals I set a year ago to gauge personal/professional progress. Some goals were more successful than others: stop hating my skin (check), study Japanese 15-60 minutes on weekdays (not even close). And–discouragement of discouragements–I am ashamed to find I set new goals this year only to see I set the exact same goal last January and completely forgot! I was determined to pitch a certain number of queries to travel magazines each month, but as the economy plummeted and I began spending all available time en route to the airport and being jet lagged, that went out the window. So I did the easy thing and only pitched articles to the local newspaper and one Tokyo magazine. I guess that’s better than nothing. Anywho, what signposts are you setting for the Unknown Road 2010? This year instead of a long list of resolutions I’m setting just three goals. One is for greater thankfulness and graciousness in the weekly work/chores/obligations I’m involved in. The other two are secret for now because I’m not sure I really want to do the first; the other because it’s the kind of thing you tell people after it’s done, not when you’re part of the masses trying (and no, it has nothing to do with babies). This is the moment when my new good attitude needs to kick in, because right now I’m fighting my third cold this month and looking ahead at tomorrow’s root canal, the inevitable separations, the exhausting travel (new goal: do not cross the Pacific five times this year), and the frustration of working on the goals along Unknown Road 2010. But I know ultimately as long as I am faithful to give thanks and work hard, I can peacefully trust God with the frustrating aspects. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of Earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power…those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.” (Isaiah 40:28-29,31) I wrote that down last year with my purpose statement for 2009, to live in joy and strength, a goal that I think went fairly well given the circumstances. So as we set off down the soundproofed, snow-covered Unknown Road of January 2010, let’s channel the fluidity of our hope to overcome the snowbanks of frozen frustration. Don’t get stuck there.